USDA announces $331 million investment for clean water infrastructure in rural communities | TheFencePost.com

USDA announces $331 million investment for clean water infrastructure in rural communities

Courtesy of the USDA

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Nov. 1 the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $331 million in 85 projects that will improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 39 states and American Samoa.

Community infrastructure investments are a key piece of USDA's mission to support America's rural communities, and these investments build on the $13.9 billion USDA has invested over the course of the Obama Administration to support 5,825 water and waste infrastructure projects that currently benefit 19.5 million rural residents.

"Strategic investments like these into community infrastructure provide a path to rural economic growth," Vilsack said. "Water and wastewater upgrades protect the health and safety of those who live and work in rural areas, and are especially critical given today's aging infrastructure in areas that have not fully benefited from rural America's economic rebound. Modernizing water and wastewater systems improves the quality of life and can help attract jobs to rural communities."

The USDA is providing $264 million in loans and $67 million in grants through Rural Development's Water & Environmental Programs. These programs provide assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Of the 85 projects announced Nov. 1, 21 are located in StrikeForce areas, and one project – an Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant in Jackson, Ky., – is also in an area targeted for assistance by the Obama Administration's Promise Zone initiative. These 21 projects will receive more than $63 million in loans and $30 million in grants, which is 28 percent of today's total investment and nearly 45 percent of the grant funding.

Funding for each project announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.

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— Courtesy of the USDA